GIMME SHELTER: Does Hearst want to expand in the beleaguered shelter category? As first reported on New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog, Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black is said to be exploring the launch of a new home title, likely in partnership with HGTV, the home-lifestyle cable channel founded by Scripps Networks in 1994. If it comes to fruition, an HGTV-branded magazine would represent the second collaboration between Hearst and Scripps Networks, which also owns the Food Network and partnered on the Hearst-published Food Network Magazine, which debuted as a newsstand-only test issue in October 2008 before launching in May 2009.
Regarding the rumor, a Hearst Magazines spokeswoman said, “We always have ideas in development, but there is nothing official to report at this time. Right now, we’re focused on our most recent launch, Food Network Magazine, which was an immediate hit with readers and advertisers, tripling its circulation in a year’s time, reaching 1.3 million with the December ’09 issue.”
While the shelter category has been pummeled in the past several years (the shutterings of Hachette Filipacchi’s Metropolitan Home in November and Condé Nast’s Domino magazine in January 2009 being recent major fatalities), Hearst could find success with HGTV Magazine, as it would be following the model established by Food Network Magazine, which had a built-in, engaged readership in the network’s television audience and relies heavily on the channel’s stable of stars, like Ina Garten and Bobby Flay, for content. — Nick Axelrod